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Scientific Name: Wallago attu (Bloch & Schneider 1801)
English Name: Freshwater Shark
Bengali Name: Boal
Availability: Wallago attu is widely distributed in all aquatic habitat systems throughout the country (Rahman 2005, Ahmed 2008, Hossain et al. 2009, Bashar et al. 2009, Akhtaruzzaman and Alam 2012).
Habitat and Ecology : Wallago attu inhabits rivers, large and small, beels, reservoir, baors and enters the floodplains and roadside ditches. It is a voracious, carnivorous, well known predatory fish. Because of its large mouth size, it predates on large fishes, frogs and other aquatic animals. Juveniles feed on crustaceans, insects (Mohsin 2007). For breeding purposes, the fish enters into shallower waters (Pethiyagoda 1991).
Justification: Wallgo attu was enlisted in the IUCN Redlist for Bangladesh as an Endangered species (IUCN 2000) due to its highly declining population, caused by threats like siltation, overexploitation, aquatic pollution, etc. These threats still persist and there is no sign of its recovery (pers. obs.). Since the species is distributed throughout Bangladesh and expected to have a large population but recent studies (NACOM 2007, 2010a, 2010b) showed that the relative abundances of the species range from rare to less common and the population of the species is declining at a slower rate and it is inferred that the population abundance has probably declined by 60% during the last 25 years. Also some escaped specimens from fish cuture ponds are getting added to the declining natural population. Considering all these factors, the species has been assessed as Vulnerable.
[Source: Red List of Bangladesh, Volume 5: Freshwater Fishes]